Time (NYSE: TIME) has announced it will forgo a sale for the time being, leading to a 17% drop in the company's share price on Friday and a resultant market cap of some $1.5 billion for the media conglomerate, the publisher of People, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and several other magazines. Last month, Time engaged fellow publisher Meredith (NYSE: MDP) and private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management in talks, among other bidders, reportedly seeking a purchase price of about $2 billion.
Instead of selling the business, CEO Rich Battista said the company will retain its focus on shifting away from its past as a legacy media business to become "an integrated, enterprise platform structure." Time will continue its attempts to grow its digital audience, expand its revenue streams and continue restructuring the business, the same sorts of changes being pursued across the publishing industry.
But those efforts have so far not borne fruit—Time's sales have dropped in eight of the past nine quarters. With a sale no longer in the offing, the company's path forward now appears far from clear.